Sunday, December 26, 2004

Torture Scandal

As a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, several FBI documents detailing prisoner abuse in Guantanamo Bay have come out. It's pretty clear, in some of them, that the FBI was trying to cover its own behind on this one i.e., they didn't want to be blamed for what was going on. The original documents are here.

From what I understand, there's going to be a Congressional investigation -- as there damned well should be. This is America, for crying out loud -- we don't torture people like some Third World dictator. The whole concept of government by law is that the worst scumbag bastard in the world has certain basic rights -- and not having a lit cigarette stuck in one's ear is among them. I was really disturbed, back when the Abu Graib scandal broke how many conservative commentators were complaining about how much attention the story got, implying, of course that it was that pesky liberal anti-war media that kept the scandal in the public eye.

This ought to outrage all Americans, regardless of political outlook.

And if one can't muster outrage out of a sense of human decency, then there is a more self-interested reason: I found myself thinking of a line from the play Man for All Seasons, where Sir Thomas More says that even the Devil himself is entitled to the benefit of law. If you suspend the law to punish the Devil "who would be able to stand in the winds that would blow then?" He then says "Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake." How can we utter one peep, or complain of Geneva Convention violations, if we find at some time in the future, our own prisoners of war are being mistreated? The world will laugh in our faces and republish the pictures from Abu Graib, that's what it will do.

So, the abuses must be investigated, clear to the highest levels of government, and heads must roll -- even to impeachment of President Bush if it can be proven that he approved of these "interrogation techniques". We have to do that, for our own safety's sake.

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